Retro Play: Charmed

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In the late 1990s, the now-defunct WB network took up real estate in many of our hearts. There was Felicity, Dawson’s Creek, and the show that many off us still have a complicated obsession with, Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

When Charmed premiered in 1998, we were quickly hooked. A part of us was still bitter about Prue (the older sister) being killed off because of the tempestuous disagreements between Alyssa Milano and Shannon Doherty and all behind-the-scenes drama that ensued.

Charmed Season 1 image

There were rumors of a reboot last year. But for any of you diehard fans out there, don’t worry the reboot was nixed soon after the announcement.

Charmed may have been the greatest show ever made — especially not by today’s standards— but we have great fondness for its first few seasons.

That’s why we decided to re-watch the first three seasons, and we were surprised by how much we still enjoyed the pilot.

Charmed Season 1 image

At its best, Charmed mixes strong female characters, intense sibling dynamics, frothy romance, and a fun take on witchcraft. It’s interesting to compare the pilot episode to where the show ends up eight seasons later. Why don’t we take a look back to how Charmed started all the way back in 1998?

Lori Rom was the first actress cast as the soon-to-be-fan-favorite Phoebe Halliwell, but she quit after filming the unaired pilot. Milano definitely fits the role much better than Rom did. Have a look for yourself.

The video compares their different takes on the character to see why it was for the best that Milano took on the role after Rom left.

What’s wonderful about the pilot episode, and what we forgot about was how much Doherty, Holly Marie Combs, and Milano imbued their characters with a sense of sisterhood. It was the perfect mix of sibling rivalry and genuine caring. This is why it doesn’t surprise us that Doherty and Combs are still good friends to this day.

Off the Map promo pic

Charmed had a lot of potion-making, spellcasting, and seemingly legit Wicca terminology. But in the later seasons, as mystical beings were introduced, the show moved away from witchcraft as a central theme, and had the sisters rely more on their increasing powers sans intricate spells and potions.

Nevertheless Charmed is a great show to re-visit and binge whenever you’re in the mood for some retro fantasy.

Charmed the complete series cover art